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Steven Davis leads way as always, but captain marvel will need more help in Germany

N Ireland 4-0 San Marino

By Steven Beacom

Published 10/10/2016

Spot on: Steven Davis celebrates his penalty
Spot on: Steven Davis celebrates his penalty

Some of Northern Ireland's most famous names were out in force as the revamped Windsor Park was officially opened.

Football heroes Pat Jennings, Harry Gregg, Peter McParland, Gerry Armstrong, Sammy McIlroy and Mal Donaghy were invited guests, while current boxing World Champion Carl Frampton and former snooker World Champion Dennis Taylor took their place in the 'Lap of Legends' around the pitch on Saturday night to mark the occasion.

Olympic golden girl Dame Mary Peters and Paralympic sensations Kelly Gallagher and Bethany Firth were also involved in the celebration, along with an array of local television stars and Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody.

Holywood's favourite son Rory McIlroy was in the stands, as was Holland icon Marco van Basten, who had arrived at Windsor as part of the Fifa delegation led by new President Gianni Infantino.

Yet if you asked the 18,234 Northern Ireland fans - the largest crowd at Windsor since 1988 - on the night their team took on San Marino in a World Cup qualifier who the biggest VIP was, the vast majority would have rolled out another name.

Steven Davis. Captain fantastic. Not for the first time in his international life, the legendary number eight led the way.

He probed, passed and tried to penetrate all night, inspiring others in green on and off the turf.

It was fitting that the Southampton star scored the first international goal at the new look Windsor.

Exactly 12 months on from a dynamic double in Belfast against Greece to take Northern Ireland to the Euro 2016 finals in France, Davis again netted on the big occasion.

Early on Michael O'Neill's men struggled to break down the San Marino part-timers, but with Davis looking head and shoulders above anyone else you knew his influence would tell.

Northern Ireland's Steve Davis scores a penalty during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast.
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Northern Ireland's Steve Davis scores a penalty during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas and San Marinos Aldo Simoncini during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas can't beleived he missed an open net during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's fans enjoy the half-time entertainment during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's fans enjoy the half-time entertainment during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Conor Washington gets a shot away during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward and San Marinos Matteo Vitaioli during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Conor Washington and looks to the heavens after missing a chance during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Golfer Rory McIlroy shares a joke with NI Football legend Harry Gregg pictured at the National Football Stadium Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Golfer Rory McIlroy with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Marco Van Basten at the National Football Stadium Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland Manager Michael O'Neill speaks to Oliver Norwood during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C San Marinos Mirko Paiazzi is sent off during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 08th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis scoring a penalty against San Marino during Saturday nights World Cup 2018 Qualifier at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C San Marinos Mirko Paiazzi is sent off during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier First Minister Arlene Foster and Communities Minister Paul Givan celebrate the first goal at the game. Photo by William Cherry / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 08th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis celebrates scoring against San Marino during Saturday nights World Cup 2018 Qualifier at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 08th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis celebrates scoring against San Marino during Saturday nights World Cup 2018 Qualifier at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 08th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis scoring a penalty against San Marino during Saturday nights World Cup 2018 Qualifier at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 08th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry To mark the official opening of the National Stadium at Windsor Park, some famous Northern Ireland faces from sport, tv and music to do a lap of the pitch before Northern Ireland took on San Marino in the World Cup 2018 Qualifier. Pictured with the fans is Denis Taylor
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 08th October 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Northern Ireland's Steven Davis celebrates scoring against San Marino during Saturday nights World Cup 2018 Qualifier at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Northern Ireland's Conor McLauglin and San Marino's Mirko Palazzi in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier and opening game at the newly developed National Stadium - Windsor Park on 8th October 2016 , Belfast , Northern Ireland Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye San Marino's Mirko Palazzi sent off in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier and opening game at the newly developed National Stadium - Windsor Park on 8th October 2016 , Belfast , Northern Ireland Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland’s Gareth McCauley and San Marino’s Mattia Stefanelli during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland’s Conor McLaughlin and Oliver Norwood with Luca Tosi of San Marino during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland’s Stuart Dallas and San Marino’s Matteo Vitaioli during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland’s Stuart Dallas and San Marino’s Matteo Vitaioli during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland’s Jamie Ward and Alessandro Della Valle of San Marino during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Conor Washington and San Marinos Alessandro Della Valle during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward scores during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward celebrates his goal during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty scores in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier and opening game at the newly developed National Stadium - Windsor Park on 8th October 2016 , Belfast , Northern Ireland Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty scores in action during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier and opening game at the newly developed National Stadium - Windsor Park on 8th October 2016 , Belfast , Northern Ireland Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Selfie time for Actor James Nesbitt, Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody and Dame Mary Peters attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye

With 26 minutes gone, Josh Magennis was bundled over in the box trying to connect with an inviting Shane Ferguson cross. Davis collected the ball and calmly slotted home from the penalty spot despite the best efforts of visiting goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini.

From that moment on there was no doubt who the victors would be. The only question was how many goals Northern Ireland would end up with, especially when Mirko Palazzi was red carded moments after the break for a crazy challenge on goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

The answer was four, with Kyle Lafferty coming off the bench in the second half to score a brace.

No surprise that Davis was instrumental in both of the striker's goals.

On 79 minutes he played a clever pass allowing Ferguson to deliver another fine left wing cross which Lafferty caressed into the net, and in injury time the skipper showed splendid skill and his unselfish nature to lay a second goal on a plate for his former Rangers team-mate. Lafferty, hungry for goals and game time, gobbled it up from close range with the last kick of the match.

In between Jamie Ward had made it 3-0 with a conclusive strike inside the area, latching on to Lafferty's flick from Ferguson's classy left boot.

Lafferty only arrived on the scene with 72 minutes gone and ended up with two goals and an assist. Impressive, but like everyone else, the Fermanagh man knew who the star of the show was.

"It was great that Davo got the first goal in the new stadium," said Lafferty of his captain.

"It was a year to the day that he basically took us through to the Euros. He has had a successful time being the captain and I don't think there's a guy in the team who deserved it more than him.

"Getting another goal to his name was great for Davo and he also laid one on for me at the end. He could have shot but passed it to me to score.

"Everyone knows what Davo's game is all about. He's an unselfish player and a team player and that's the mentality we have in the group."

That group will have to step it up tomorrow night in Germany.

The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings & Mary Peters pictured
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings & Mary Peters pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Pat Jennings at the official opening of the Northern Ireland National Stadium. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Pat Jennings and Michael Boyd pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Carl Frampton pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Charlie Lawson pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Sammy McIlroy pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness with Gerry Mallon from the Irish FA watches Northern Ireland vs San Marino Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Goal keeping Legends Harry Gregg and Pat Jennings attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Northern Ireland football stars Pat Jennings and Harry Gregg help Jay and Ellie cut the ribbon to official open the new stadium for the fans. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Northern Ireland football stars Pat Jennings and Harry Gregg help Jay and Ellie cut the ribbon to official open the new stadium for the fans. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Goal keeping Legends Harry Gregg and Pat Jennings attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Actor Jimmy Nesbitt attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's fans. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Eamonn Holmes pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Gary Lightbody Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Gary Lightbody Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Eamonn Holmes Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Gary Lightbody Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Charlie Lawson Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye James Nesbitt Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Carl Frampton with his daughter Carla Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 8-10-16 Northern Ireland v San Marino - World Cup Qualifier Northern Ireland's /ni and San Marinos /sm during this evenings game at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Gerry Armstrong pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Jim Nesbitt pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Pat Jennings and Michael Boyd pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier General view of fans Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Carl Frampton pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Gerry Armstrong pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Carl Frampton pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
8 October 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye. Challenge Cup: Stena Line Belfast Giants v Braehead Clan at the SSE Arena Belfast. Belfast Giant Chris Higgins scores against Braehead during Saturday nights Challenge Cup game at the SSE Arena, Belfast.
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening Pat Jennings & Mary Peters pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup qualifier Group C The official opening of the National Stadium this evening with a lap of former Northern Ireland legends. Jimmy Nesbitt pictured Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier FIFA President, Gianni Infantino at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier General view of the plaque at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Communities Minister Paul Givan is pictured with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Irish FA President, David Martin at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Anne Cullen from Donaghmore attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Joshua (7) and Caleb Crooks (6) from Coagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Alastair, scott and Alexandra Carnwath from Antrin attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Matthew Denny,David Irwin,Matthew Irwin and Rachel Walker attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Picture - Kevin Scott / Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Louise Beacom from Omagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Stephen and Sarah Cameron from Antrim attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Aaron Crawford from Londonderry attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Mark Alexander ans eight year old Adam from Armagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Joshua (7) and Caleb Crooks (6) from Coagh attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Alastair, scott and Alexandra Carnwath from Antrin attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are pictured with FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Irish FA President, David Martin at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fan Anne Cullen from Donaghmore attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland fans Matthew Denny,David Irwin,Matthew Irwin and Rachel Walker attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are pictured with Communities Minister Paul Givan, Marco Van Basten, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and Irish FA President, David Martin before the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's in the new kopstand Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's fans(left to right) Richard Kennedy, John Clarke, Joesph Rea(6) and Laura Clarke from Comber Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland's fans. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Jimmy Nesbitt pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Jimmy Nesbitt pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Eamonn Holmes pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Gary McAllister pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland 8th October FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier - Northern Ireland Vs San Marino at The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast Northern Ireland fan and presenter Colin Murray Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier First Minister Arlene Foster, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Irish FA President, David Martin and FIFA President, Gianni Infantino pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 - The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Actor Charlie Lawson pictured at the official opening ceremony. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye World Champion Boxer Carl Frampton attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Golfer Rory McIIroy attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Northern Ireland team The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Actor Jimmy Nesbitt attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th October 2016 -Picture by Brian Little/PressEye Goal keeping Legends Harry Gregg and Pat Jennings attending The National Football Stadium at Windsor Park Opening Game and Ceremony before Northern Ireland vs San Marino 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier Photo by Brian Little/ Press Eye
PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/10/2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino World Cup Qualifier Group C Northern Ireland’s Jonny Evans and San Marino’s Matteo Coppini during this evenings game at the National Stadium in Belfast. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Jimmy Nesbitt. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Northern Ireland football stars Pat Jennings and Harry Gregg help Jay and Ellie cut the ribbon to official open the new stadium for the fans. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Carl Frampton along with Gerry Armstrong. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Fans enjoy the match. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Charlie Lawson. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Jimmy Nesbitt. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 7th October 2016 Northern Ireland v San Marino at the National Stadium, Belfast. Jimmy Nesbitt. Photographer - © Matt Mackey / Press Eye

The scoreline against San Marino was comprehensive thanks to that late burst of goals, but it's clear that some players will need to up their game considerably when the World Champions are the opponents in Hannover. Davis will need more help than he received at times against San Marino.

On Saturday night Northern Ireland had 70% possession and made 452 passes, completing 425 of them.

Tomorrow O'Neill's side will be cast in the minnow's role against Germany.

In the Euro finals in France when Joachim Low's team won 1-0 in the group stages, Northern Ireland had only 29% of the ball, making 112 successful passes from the 176 they tried.

It will be a long evening for O'Neill's team, but if they can all reach the standards set by their skipper they will have a chance of taking something from the game.

The final words go to Davis.

He said: "Beating San Marino will not have any impact on the Germany game.

"Of course we were delighted to get the win but it's going to be a completely different match on Tuesday.

"Germany obviously have a lot of quality and will be big favourites to win but for us it is a chance to test ourselves against some of the best players in the world. We will embrace that challenge."

NORTHERN IRELAND: McGovern, McLaughlin (McNair 76'), McAuley, J Evans, Ferguson, McGinn, Davis, Norwood, Dallas (Washington 65'), Ward, Magennis (Lafferty 72'). Unused subs: Carson, Mannus, Hodson, Paton, C Evans, McGivern, Hughes, Lund, Flanagan. Goals: Davis (26'), Lafferty (79', 90'), Ward (85').

SAN MARINO: A Simoncini, Berardi, F Vitaioli, D Simoncini, Della Valle, Palazzi, Hirsch (Cesarini 55'), Tosi, Coppini (Golinucci 70'), M Vitaioli, Stefanelli (Zafferani 85'). Unused subs: Benedettini, Manzaroli, Valentini, Selva, Censoni, Rinaldi, Bianchi, Berretti, Mazza. Red card: Palazzi (49').

Referee: Istvan Kovacs (Romania)

Man of the match: Steven Davis

Match rating: 6/10

Belfast Telegraph

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